With our elected leaders unwilling to correct the problems with Affordable Care Act which by the way is everything but Affordable, at least President Trump is doing something. His latest executive order is an attempt to force the individual market into some type of correction. By suggesting that short term policies be extended so as to provide coverage for up to a year, the regulation starts a process of dismantling the ACA. Too many individuals were willing to go without coverage and take the risk rather than pay the excessive premiums for plans they would never use. At least with the option to go through underwriting, and settle for plans that are not compliant, these individuals at least have some protections. These plans when combined with other protections are much better for the consumer and for the agent. The complaint I hear is that the plans are underwritten and some people will not be able to purchase them. I agree, sometimes things are not fair. An example: I wanted to ride an attraction in Disney World but was told my legs were too long! That is not fair. I should be able to ride any ride and Disney needs to change. Another example: I wanted to play at Augusta but was told that I was only able to if playing with a member. That seems completely unfair. How can I be kept from experiencing that kind of opportunity? The point I am making is that although some people will be able to purchase coverage at a lower rate, there will be some that need to use the ACA compliant plans and pay the price. The way I see it, ACA plans will become the CHIP plans of yesteryear and the Federal government will end up underwriting most of the cost. Individuals who can qualify for coverage will forgo the high costs and expensive coverage provided by ACA compliant plans and look for alternative plans that protect them and their families at reasonable rates.
Agents need to make sure that their clients are aware of all the options available to them including the ACA plans. With that said, most of their clients are looking for answers on protection and not just the cheapest rates. Agents who have done their homework will find huge opportunities and the possibility to earn good incomes. OCI conducted a seminar last week and invited a number of agents. It was surprising to me that many of the agents left before seeing the entire solution. By leaving early, they only got a small part of the solution and will do more harm than good unless they see the rest of the picture. I understand that everyone is busy these days but unless you are making over $1,000 dollars an hour, you probably messed up. That extra hour of listening would have provided the key solutions for your clients. It is kind of like leaving church early, nothing is that important.
As we begin the open enrollment time for 2018, please make sure you are doing what’s best for the client, but also, what is in your best interest. You can only help your clients if you are still in the business. You can be the absolute best agent for your clients and still go bankrupt. A good agent understands that they can cover both parts of the equation. Finding the proper protection for the client does not mean working for free. Always find a way to be profitable and solve the problems.